Rob Menendez introduces bill to discourage air tours over areas like Liberty State Park


U.S. Rep. Rob Menendez (D-8) has introduced the Communities Before Air Tourism Act to discourage air tour routes over areas like Liberty State Park.

By John Heinis/Hudson County View

The bill would require the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and National Park Service (NPS) to consult with communities under air tour routes and take into consideration the impact on them when entering into Air Tour Management Voluntary Agreements with helicopter operators.

“Residents of our district should not live with the constant disruption of helicopter noise from air tours, especially at our urban oasis of Liberty State Park,” Menendez said in a statement.

“The Communities Before Air Tourism Act will make sure that the voices of our constituents are heard when air tour voluntary agreements are being considered. I am committed to ensuring our constituents are able to enjoy their homes and our public spaces in peace without the negative impacts of tourist helicopter flights.”

Under current statute, the FAA and NPS have the authority to enter into voluntary agreements with air tour operators under a section of law intended to protect national parks and visitors, as well as the national aviation system, but these agreements do not protect visitors to state parks or residents of impacted communities.

“The barrages of helicopter noise from tourist flights are a severe intrusion into the quality-of-life experiences of all who come to peacefully enjoy Liberty State Park,” noted Friends of Liberty State Park President Sam Pesin.

“The FAA and NPS should be acting in the best interests of our local communities and all those who come from across our state and region to visit Liberty State Park. Thank you to Rep. Menendez for leading this effort and for continually standing up for urban residents and for all who visit this precious urban parkland behind Lady Liberty.”

Additionally, the Communities Before Air Tourism Act requires the FAA and NPS to include these communities in their decision-making process, and would also expand the scope of considerations the agencies must take into account when developing agreements to include communities under-route.

“Stop the Chop NY/NJ would like to thank Congressman Menendez for his leadership of efforts to address the plague of helicopters afflicting residents on both sides of the Hudson River,” added Stop the Chop NY NJ President Andrew Rosenthal.

“The negative impact of this profits-at-all-costs industry on the quality of life, health and safety of millions of people is obvious. We hope this is just a first step in efforts to address the problem in Congress.”

Menendez serves on the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, which is the committee of jurisdiction on this issue, and offered this legislation as an amendment during yesterday’s markup to H.R. 3935, the Securing Growth and Robust Leadership in American Aviation Act.

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  1. We thank Congressmember Rob Menendez for this common sense and necessary bill that if and when enacted would finally take into account the negative impacts tourist / sightseeing helicopters have on residents of air tour sightseeing areas – such as the Hudson River waterfront neighborhoods all along the Hudson in NJ and NYC. We have suffered too long from the incessant and excessive noise pollution from these helicopter sightseeing tours, and these jet fuel based choppers contribute to our reduced air quality as well. This negative impact on communities below these flight paths must be considered and prioritized. Readers, please sign our petition on Stop the Chop NY/NJ’s website and join our grassroots movement.